Jesuit high schools as communities of character

Miguel David Gelpi, Fordham University


This study explores how Jesuit secondary schools might benefit from a comprehensive approach to moral education that is focused upon and rooted in an understanding of the nature of character and the ways it can be cultivated in children and youth. It includes a brief analysis of how high school faculty and administrators can work collaboratively with parents in fostering the moral formation of youth. This study is significant and unique in four ways. First, no other research study offers a fully-developed character education approach and framework for Christian, Catholic religious education. Second, this study highlights what is often left out of the field of Religious Education—namely the moral formation of our students. Third, the contemporary character education movement focuses primarily on public elementary and middle school education. This study looks at character formation as it occurs in secondary schooling. Most significantly, this study brings the best elements of character education to Jesuit pedagogy, and outlines an approach for cultivating character in Jesuit high schools as part of a comprehensive approach to Catholic religious education. This study is a humanistic, and in particular a Christian humanistic, and historical study that is informed by contemporary scholarship in history, theology, ethics, education and religious education. It provides an overview of the relevant literature on character and character education, with interpretation, analysis, and a critique from a religious educational perspective. The study also provides an overview of the history of character education in Christian religious education. It demonstrates that while academic excellence is an important goal for Jesuit secondary schools, greater attention can and should be focused, in accord with the principles of Jesuit education, on the development of character in order to produce well-rounded persons.

Subject Area

Religious education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Gelpi, Miguel David, "Jesuit high schools as communities of character" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3312006.